Similarity in form and function of the hippocampus in rodents, monkeys, and humans.
We begin by describing an historical scientific debate in which the fundamental idea that species are related by evolutionary descent was challenged. The challenge was based on supposed neuroanatomical differences between humans and other primates with respect to a structure known then as the hippocampus minor. The debate took place in the early 1860 s, just after the publication of Darwin's famous book. We then recount the difficult road that was traveled to develop an animal model of human memory impairment, a matter that also turned on questions about similarities and differences between humans and other primates. We then describe how the insight that there are multiple memory systems helped to secure the animal model and how the animal model was ultimately used to identify the neuroanatomy of long-term declarative memory (sometimes termed explicit memory). Finally, we describe a challenge to the animal model and to cross-species comparisons by considering the case of the concurrent discrimination task, drawing on findings from humans and monkeys. We suggest that analysis of such cases, based on the understanding that there are multiple memory systems with different properties, has served to emphasize the similarities in memory function across mammalian species.